If I were a pretentious Film Studies student, I would discuss Birdman's importance at great length to anybody within earshot. I would write an entire thesis about the many ways in which it deconstructs the cinematic form and then I would go to parties and bore people with smug declarations like "Birdman is the best superhero movie ever made", proudly enjoying my own unique, daring perspective on the genre. Sadly, I am not a pretentious Film Studies student. I am, however, a pretentious film reviewer, so I still get to do all of those things and I don't even have to worry about getting graded afterwards. [B- for that intro - Ed]
The Croods raises some interesting questions. Such as: where can I find me some giant corncobs? What's up with that flying tortoise/parrot thing? Is it weird to be attracted to an animalistic red-headed cave girl who runs on all fours? And why can’t I stop staring at that dude's distractingly convincing CGI nipples? At least, these were my thoughts upon leaving the screening of this film. I hope for their sake that the children in attendance weren’t thinking the same as me.
It turns out that I have a small issue with a lot of gangster films, which I didn't realise until watching Gangster Squad. For all their sharp-suited, Tommy gun-wielding adventures, most feel the need to bring home the heavy-hitting drama underlying it all. Of course, there's no problem with this, but it seems to me that Hollywood has spent so long trying to tell us the real story behind some of history's most infamous outlaws, that it seems to have forgotten how to tell us the fake, fun, irresponsible version. This is where Gangster Squad chimes in; a film so gloriously cartoony at times that it feels ripped from the frames and pages of a graphic novel. Even though it is actually um... based on true events.
Eastern moviegoing audiences have proved to be a massively untapped market this year, so it's only natural that Warner Bros would want to tailor the marketing for Gangster Squad to make it successful overseas. If you ask me, there's a home run waiting to be hit in South Korea with just a few new tweaks and edits.
One of the most difficult things about being a film critic (you there, no laughing at the back) is divorcing the film you're watching from any of the surrounding hysteria. Maybe the film has arrived on a tidal wave of hype; maybe you're aware of a troubled production; or, let's say, for argument's sake, it's a reboot of a movie, or series of movies, that you hold dear. These things can influence an opinion; it's your job to make sure they don't. The Amazing Spider-Man is one of the first movies I've had to review where I felt I literally couldn't review the 136 minutes of film I saw without commenting on the fact that I fundamentally disagree with the fact that it exists.
Crazy Stupid Love is a movie that wants it all. It's a romcom that knows it's a romcom and wants you to know it knows it's a romcom. Characters reference popular movies and the clichés therein; by pointing out the elephants in the room, they're allowing us in on the joke. "Damn, love is crazy and stupid," they nudge and wink to us, but because they acknowledge the craziness and stupidity of movie romance, they assume they'll get away with it. Luckily for us, the characters of Crazy Stupid Love are so darn charming, they do.